Anxiety. The fog that creeps into your mind and spreads itself across your thoughts. Seemingly impossible to permeate. It'll pass, you remind yourself.
For about as long as I can remember, I've been an anxious person. I used to think it was nothing, something simple like being disappointed in myself if I didn't show up to an event at the same time as everyone else. As I've grown, I've begun to realize it's much bigger than that. The past few years of my life I've begun to see my anxiety for what it really is. It's something I can't particularly control, although there are things I can avoid to keep it from growing. However, sometimes it's strong enough to push its way past the walls I've built to keep it out. When that happens, there's not much I can do, so I have to remind myself: it'll pass.
The anxiety rises, but comes first as my heart begins to race a little. Then even faster. My breath gets caught, like I suddenly can't get enough oxygen into my lungs. My brain panics with a thousand other thoughts. And then there it is: I can feel, I mean actually feel, every cell soaring through my open blood vessels, flooding my body with fear, worry, doubt, anxiety.
To be honest, the majority of my anxieties are very simple, and I know this. But yet I can't control them, despite how many people try to tell me to "just get over it." Recently, I've begun to realize that it's actually okay to talk about my anxiety with people; something I once was very afraid of. And when I began to share with a few of you, you made me think of my anxiety like the weather. It may be foggy and overcast today, but the sun can soon shine again. Now, it's a little less scary to talk about it, though the thought of putting this all out here in the open for you is making me quite apprehensive. But the research supports it: I am not alone.
To be painfully honest (with myself and with you), my anxiety keeps me from doing lots of things. It's easier, and safer for me, to cancel plans with you because I get too anxious thinking about all of the possibilities of things that could or might go wrong. I'm worrying that you dislike me, that I'm bothering you, that I'm a burden in your life. Because of my anxiety, I live in a lot of fear. Fear of the great unknown. Trust me, I so badly wish I could turn off my brain long enough to get into a plane, and then jump out of it.
Talking about it helps. When I began sharing with some of you, you started to truly see me and actually understand me better. Those of you that have spent time with me have learned to understand my "quirks." Some of you know that sometimes I need to be pushed to be better, and other times, I just need to know I'm not alone. For your understanding, I'm more appreciative than I could ever express.
I don't want to let my anxiety hold me back. I wish my anxiety would cease long enough for me to be brave. I don't want my anxiety to push people away. When I told you my anxieties, you didn't try to hurry it away or ignore it. You hunkered down with me until the fog dissipated. You waited with me while it passed.
"I have no special talent.